Sound and vision software

Everybody needs good sound and vision software on their system. Why? Because everybody has photograph, images, videos, and and various recordings (music, plays, YouTube clips, flash mob events, or whatever), on their system, and it can be a bit of a nightmare getting it all to work together reliably and seamlessly.

Things come in numerous different formats, and some only work on certain players, so you sometimes find that the thing you’ve recorded can’t be played as normal – you have to go searching for something specific that can handle that particular job.

I have certain sound and vision software programs I use regularly and between them they more or less take care of everything I can throw at them. I’m not saying they’re necessarily the best, but they work well for me. Here they are …

FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone Image Viewer is like having a fully equipped photographic dark room in your computer!

An amazingly comprehensive program, FastStone Image Viewer will not only serve as an image viewer but will also allow you to easily reorganise, resize, and rename all your images any way you like. Apart from all that, it can also deal with making it easy to convert images from one format to another, run slideshows, adjust colour, brightness, contrast, saturation, and various other arcane variables that I know very little about.

The settings screen offers you a dizzying range of possibilities. Actually, you could spend quite a while fine-tuning this program, but most of that’s not necessary if you just want it to take care of basic tasks. this is among the best examples of sound and vision software.

Can this really be a free program?

Audacity

Audacity

Audacity is a fully-featured audio program, but it’s easy enough for anyone to use

Another amazing free program, Audacityprovides almost everything you need if you want to work with your audio files. I say almost, but I think the only people who would need anything more would be audio experts, professional musicians, and the like.

For mere mortals, such as myself, this program has everything I could ever need, and more.

Audacity is freeware. Did I mention that? Amazing. It’s open source software too, so if you’re an e experienced programmer, you might like to take a look at it.

Media Player Classic

Media Player Classic

Media Player Classic handles virtually anything, yet it’s simple and uncomplicated

When you want to play a video file, Windows media player automatically pops up, or some other player that you’ve installed (or that installed itself!), and very often they give you reason to regret using them. They lack something, or they do things in a way that you’re not happy with, or familiar with, or they lack some specific functionality that you expect.

I’ve used various media players over the years, but Media Player Classic is the best I’ve found. It doesn’t leave me wondering why it doesn’t do a certain thing, or how to use it, and it doesn’t get stumped by any unusual formats. Media Player Classic is simple, straightforward, and uncomplicated. Yet it does all you need.

Media Player Classic is freeware.

Freecorder

Freecorder

Freecorder can record anything you can see or hear on your computer

You play a video file or an mp3 recording and you want to keep a copy … and you find yourself looking for the right little program to use. Do you have just the right one? A good sound recorder, a program suitable for recording video, or whatever?

Stop! Just use Freecorder and it’s all taken care of. It can record any sound your computer is making, or any video that appears onscreen, so if you’re playing a programme on BBC’s ‘listen again’ service, for example, it’s easily saved, and you can listen to it when you want. No more fiddling with various recorders that take care of only one type of file, Freecorder can handle it all, no problem.

Oh, and it’ll play your own files too, with its own player (if you prefer it to, for example, Media Player Classic), and convert them if necessary.

Freecorder is freeware … as you might have guessed from the name!

Any Video Converter

Any Video Converter

Any Video Converter is well named – it can handle any video format you throw at it!

Speaking of converting video files, you probably get used to having files of one particular kind (makes life that bit easier if things are all much the same!). Then you find that you’ve downloaded something in a format you’re unfamiliar with, and you’re not sure if it’s compatible with your other software. You’re not even sure if the file size is ‘heavier’, for that matter, or more prone to difficulties when replaying it.

Just add it to the list in Any Video Converter and click ‘Convert’. If you’ve already pre-selected the format you want (and you’ll probably always want the same format), it goes ahead and takes care of it. No fuss, no problem. Easy! Oh, and it’s a free program. Bonus!

Freeware, shareware, and open source software

The sound and vision software programs on this page are all freeware, i.e. they cost you nothing at all. Very many utility programs are freeware, and many of them do a better job than the paid for variety. Just a step down from that, many utilities are shareware, which means you’re expected to fork out for the program, but only after a free trial period (and then, usually, only a modest fee).

bookmarkSome sound and vision software programs are open source software, which means that the code is available to interested parties to work on. If you’re a programmer, you can contribute to open source software and, hopefully, improve on it. This way, open source software just keeps getting better and better, because the people working on it are motivated to make genuine improvements (and not for monetary gain either), as opposed to being motivated to add needless ‘improvements’ so that software companies can charge extra for ‘upgrades’.

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